Gwinnett County family lawyer Ashley Pepitone, founder of Pepitone Family Law, says one of the biggest struggles she sees in divorce and child custody cases is a parent unwilling to be the parent and enforce the custody agreement.

Today’s parenting encourages children to speak up and make decisions about their lives at an early age. While there are many benefits to raising an independent and outspoken child, when it comes to child custody agreements, the law is the law.

It’s Not a Choice, It’s a Court Order

“But I don’t want to go to my dad’s house.”

As the parent, it is crucial to understand that the custody arrangement is not a choice but a court order. The judge has considered the best interests of the child and has assigned custody based on many factors, such as the living arrangements of each parent, the ability of the parent to care for the child, the parent’s physical and mental health, and the child’s ability to adjust to the new home, community, and school. Breaking the custody agreement violates the court order.

When a Child Refuses to Cooperate with a Custody Agreement

If a child refuses to cooperate with a custody agreement, enlist the help of an experienced family lawyer. They will assess the situation and help you determine the best next steps, which may include an investigation and work to try to revise the custody agreement with the judge.


Before you involve attorneys and the judge, it is much easier (and less expensive) to talk to your child about why they don’t want to go. If the reason does not jeopardize their safety or well-being, save yourself a lot of time, money, and stress by being the parent and telling them that it’s not their choice to pick and choose when they want to visit the co-parent.

Pepitone Family Law is dedicated to understanding the results you want and will help you to make empowered choices to reach the next stage of your life.

We invite you to contact us for a consultation about separation, divorce, child custody, or other family law matters by calling us at (770) 800-2681 or scheduling an appointment online.

Watch Ashley Pepitone talk about a common struggle in family law – embracing and enforcing joint custody: